University of Bahr el Ghazal teaching staff declare a strike on 01 December 2022. [Photo: Radio Tamazuj]

Lecturers of Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile, and Rumbek universities strike again

The teaching staff of the three public universities of Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile, and Rumbek has again gone on strike after last month’s downing of tools to demand better pay.

The teaching staff of the three public universities of Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile, and Rumbek has again gone on strike after last month’s downing of tools to demand better pay.

Last month, the lecturers from the three universities briefly went on strike demanding to be paid enhanced salaries and allowances in line with adjustments for inflation.

On 17 November, the leaders of the teaching staff associations of the three universities met national higher education minister Changson Chang over their enhanced pay but announced a strike after a deadlock.

Addressing the media in Wau on Wednesday, the chairperson of the University of Bahr el Ghazal academic staff association, Joseph Lual Dario, said the three universities have declared a seven-day strike.

“We have declared a second industrial action starting with a sit-in strike for seven days within the official working days starting from the 1 December to Friday 9 December 2022,” he said.

According to Lual, the lecturers will resume work on 12 December and give the higher education ministry time to address their grievances, failure of which will lead to the announcement of a third strike. 

“The reason we have this industrial action is that we need an urgent implementation of the new salary scale according to the current inflation rate of the Central Bank of South Sudan,” he said. “We also need the payment of all arrears from July 2022 and we also need payment of annual air ticket allowance arrears which was approved in July 2019.”

“The new salary scale must also include a budget for the training of teaching staff, increased medical and ticket allowances,” he added.

Lual appealed to President Salva Kiir to intervene in the matter.

Meanwhile, Dr. Pio Kur, the chairperson of the Upper Nile University staff association, said the current strike was triggered by the failure of Minister Chang to resolve the issue following their meeting on 17 November.

“On 17 November, we submitted our demands to the minister of high education, science, and technology and he was supposed to discuss this issue with the service cluster last Tuesday but the meeting was postponed. Today (Thursday), we had our meeting as the general assembly and we found that there is a delay in the salary adjustment based on the current inflation rate,” he said. “We have given the government time to pay us but until today we did not receive any updates. Therefore, from the 1 December, we will be on the strike for one week.”